A Poor Man with a Mighty Calling (Part 1)
by Sophia Prinsloo
with Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans
A Bible Story About Gideon
Thirteen-year-old Yasha was looking through the window at the rain. How blessed they were with so many drops of water falling from the sky, filling dams and rivers, supplying water to the city where she lived! She couldn't help thinking about another city, almost a 1,000 miles away, suffering from a severe drought, forcing its residents to use water very sparingly.
Wondering what she could do to help, she came up with an idea but thought to herself, "Will they ever listen to me? I am only a student; my family is not rich. I am not one of the popular students in school and I don't get the highest marks in class. Would my plan even work?"
Pushing all doubts aside early the next morning, she mustered all her courage and went to the school's head of charity to present her plan. "Sir," she said, "if every student at school would bring just one filtered and sealed bottle of water, it could be sent to the drought-stricken city to help quench the thirst of many children."
The school's head of charity thought Yasha's idea was brilliant. He grew more excited as he told the principal all about it. Afterwards he gathered all the students and told them about Yasha's plan. And, praise the Lord, the next day, every student did his part by bringing a sealed bottle of crystal-clear drinking water to school, to be sent away to thirsty children almost a thousand miles away.
One day in the time of the judges, Gideon was threshing wheat by hand in the bottom of a deep grape press, on his father Joaz's farm. He did not dare separate the chaff from the wheat in the open as he usually did, because he was afraid their enemies, the Midianites, would see him and come, plunder the small harvest they had left.
As he worked, the words of God's prophet, who was traveling through the country, rang in his ears. The prophet had said, "The Lord God of Israel brought you out of slavery in Egypt and drove out your enemies before you to give you this land. He told you to worship Him alone and not worship the idols of any other nation, but you would not listen!"
Gideon knew the prophet was right, because even his own father had built wooden idols next to his house. It was no wonder that God had given them over to be harassed by their idol-serving enemies. These enemies, the Midianites, the Amalekites and other nations, were so cruel that the children of Israel fled into the mountains. There they lived hungry, scared and helpless lives in caves and dens, hiding from traveling bandits.
The Midianites would come, riding on droves of camels, too many to count, and destroy the crops of Israel, leaving nothing for the children of Israel to eat, taking all their sheep, oxen and donkeys, making them very poor. This went on for seven years. But at last, there was hope as the children of Israel began to listen and cry out to the Lord their God for help.
When Gideon finished threshing the wheat, he first peeked out of the pit to make sure there were no enemies around. Then suddenly, he ducked back into the pit, for he had spotted the figure of a man under a nearby oak tree. Mustering up all his courage, he carefully peeked over the edge of the pit again. The stranger did not look like anybody he knew, neither did he look like an enemy, so Gideon decided to climb out of the pit, shovel in the hand, ready to defend himself if necessary, as he went to meet the stranger.
As Gideon approached, the Stranger turned and said, "Mighty soldier, the Lord is with you!"
Gideon was shocked and puzzled. "But, Sir," he said, "if the Lord is with us, why are all these bad things happening to us? Our ancestors told us all about the miracles God did when He brought us out of Egypt. Why is He allowing the Midianites to destroy us?"
The Stranger did not answer Gideon's question because, in his heart, Gideon already knew the answer was just as the prophet had spoken. Instead, the Stranger told him, "I will make you strong! Go and save Israel from the Midianites! I AM sending you!"
Gideon was flabbergasted! "But, Sir, how can I save Israel? My family is the poorest in the whole tribe of Manasseh. On top of that, I am the least important member of my entire family!"
The Stranger replied, "I AM will be with you and you will quickly destroy the Midianite hordes!"
Gideon thought to himself, "How do I know that this Stranger actually is God speaking to me? How do I know I will not be risking my life for a lie?"
So Gideon asked the Stranger, "Sir, if you really are going to help me, then please do some miracle to prove it! Also, will you please stay here until I bring you a gift?"
"All right then," the Stranger replied. "I'll stay here until you return!"
Gideon hurried home to roast a young goat and bake some unleavened bread from a bushel of flour. Afterwards, he hurried back to the Stranger, carrying the roasted goat in a basket with the unleavened bread and a pot of broth. He put his gift down, near the Stranger.
Then the Stranger said to Gideon, "Place the meat and the bread on the rock over there and pour the broth over it."
Puzzled, Gideon did exactly what the Stranger told him to do. Then the Stranger stretched out his staff and, to Gideon's amazement — just as He touched the meat and bread with his staff — a flame of fire rose up from the rock and consumed every bit of the food. At the same time, the Stranger disappeared as if in thin air and was nowhere to be seen.
Gideon now realized who that Stranger must have been and, fearing that he might die, he cried out, "Alas, Oh Lord God! I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face!"
But then he heard the voice of the Lord say to him, "Peace to you! Don't be afraid. You will not die!"
Gideon was so relieved to hear those words that he immediately built an altar to the Lord and called it, "The Altar of Peace with the Lord."
Now Gideon knew for sure that the Lord was with him. He knew the Lord had given him a purpose, but how exactly he had to accomplish it, we'll have to find out in the next story.
(Continued in Part 2)
It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, strong or weak, young or old. The Lord can use you if you have a willing heart and humble spirit.
1. What was Gideon called to do?
2. What was Gideon doing down in the grape press?
3. Why was he hiding?
4. Who was sitting under the oak tree?
5. Why did the Angel of the Lord call Gideon brave?
6. What miracle took place?
7. What did Gideon call the altar he built for the Lord?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12).
Heavenly Father, thank You that You can use me
whether I am rich or poor, strong or weak, clever or not so clever.
Help me to have a willing heart and humble, but brave spirit.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
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Gideon: Tuba Warrior, VeggieTales DVD
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Last updated July 8, 2018.
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